Complaints about canned goods water on the rise


Canned goods line shelf after shelf at supermarkets. People love their convenience but something bugs them.

"I just think that too many things today that are being processed have far too much liquid in them," one grocery shopper said.

"I feel like I'm getting more water than beans or more water than fruit salad," another shopper said.

Consumer Reports has gotten lots of complaints like that about too much liquid in cans.

"A common misconception is that the weight listed on the can is the weight of the food. But it's not. Net weight also includes any liquid in the can," Consumer Reports' Jamie Kopf said.

To get an idea of just how much liquid is in cans, Consumer Reports carefully drained and weighed the contents of 63 cans. There were cans of vegetables, chicken and fruits.

"So just how much food are you getting? The cans we looked at averaged between 52 percent and 66 percent food. And the rest just went down the drain," Kopf said.

Consumer Reports combed through government regulations, and all the cans of food tested were within the guidelines.

"Manufacturers defend using water in cans. For example, General Mills, which packages Green Giant foods, told us that it's there to keep the freshness of the product," Kopf said.

Companies do seem to be trying to address consumers' concerns.

Chicken of the Sea has come out with a can of tuna that says, "No Drain. Just a little water."

And Green Giant sells vacuum-packed corn that it says holds the same amount of corn as their regular can but has a lot less water.

Sometimes companies do fail to meet federal standards for the amount of food in canned goods. Last summer, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, and Starkist agreed to pay a total of more than $3 million to settle complaints that they put less tuna in their cans than required.

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